Gone are the days when marketing copy was good enough. That polished stodgy messaging would fly. Consumers crave authenticity and genuine engagements. No one wants to interact or share "copy".
It's time to really get to know ourselves, brands. Really get in touch with who you are and what you're like. Shed the faade and own what you find. Own it. It's going to get uncomfortable for a bit. Some will fight back attempting to hang on to the standards they're used to.
But once you get in touch with your true self, your true persona, the magic happens. There is something completely endearing about engaging with a brand that owns their personality. It feels real. It feels personal. It feels authentic and memorable. These are undoubtedly all feelings you want your audience to experience when interacting with you. These are the things of relationships. These are the elements that create long lasting bonds and ultimately loyal advocates.
We're not just talking about cheeky tweets here in case you were already starting to brainstorm. Every single aspect of the customer experience is an opportunity to engage authentically. The name of the game: FUN. If you can make even customer service fun, for example, think of the JOY you will bring.
Bungie takes a fun authentic approach to their customer service even when the customer is…well, not really theirs.
Taco Bell, Old Spice and Red Bull aren't afraid to have a little fun – with each other.
Why is it that "fire sauce" isn't made with any real fire? Seems like false advertising.
" Old Spice (@OldSpice) July 9, 2012
This is the kind of fun spirited conversation that truly engender brands to their people.
Oh, and you know Taco Bell doesn't stop at interacting with other brands that way. I recommend taking a stroll through their Twitter feed to see how engaging they are.
It's not all taco's and deodorant though. Even the aviation geeks amongst us can socialize peacefully and jovially. Take a peek into a great conversation between Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines. Definitely takes the concept of friendly competition to a higher elevation. (Get it?????)
Do you think your brand can't get in the fun? You aren't the "type" for FUN? Your argument is invalid. If The White House can do it, so can you. Some clever constituent decided to start up a petition to get the government to build the Death Star. The White House could absolutely have chuckled at this and moved on. Instead – they joined in on the fun and responded delightfully.
The secret to all of this is really knowing who your brand is and what it stands for. Once you have solidly decided that, you know, quite readily, how your brand would, or ought to respond in most situations. By defining fully your brand persona you also define fully the brand persona boundaries. Take for example some of these real-time marketing examples. By understanding your brand stance on a variety of issues, ultimately your values, and having a fully fleshed picture of your brand personality and sense of humor, you can respond quickly and effectively in a variety of situations. This kind of preparation affords you all sorts of luxuries, including even the ability to get a little feisty if you were so inclined.
Kristy Bolsinger is a Senior Associate at PwC in Seattle, WA. She has previously worked at Ant's Eye View (acquired by PwC in 2012), and RealNetworks (GameHouse). Prior to her time at RealNetworks, and Ant's Eye View - Kristy was working as a Social Media Marketing Consultant and completing her MBA at Willamette University. She maintains a social media blog and can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.